Winning the Past Presidents' Award for most effective use and presentation of flowers, the Saving America's Mustangs float serves as a reminder to the 54 million viewers of the Pasadena Rose Bowl Parade that the plight of thousands of wild horses hangs in the balance.
Sponsored by Saving America's Mustangs, a foundation started by Maeleine Pickens to protect wild horses, it is hoped that both private citizens and the government will step up to help save this important part of our national heritage.
Currently the Bureau of Land Management under the direction of Secretary Ken Salazar is working to gather thousands of wild horses and burros from overpopulated herds on Western public lands. More than 34,000+ wild horses and burros are kept in holding facilities that cost approximately $35 million a year to operate.
Because adoption of wild horses has dropped drastically as a result of the economy, some wild horses have been sold and transported to Canada to be killed in slaughter plants. This has raised the ire of many wild horse advocates who are springing into action to save this part of our natural heritage.
After becoming aware of the plight of wild horses, Madeleine Pickens formed the foundation, Saving America's Mustangs, and came up with a plan to move the mustangs into eco-sanctuaries where they can continue to live in a relatively natural state.
Beginning with a test group of 1,000 horses to be relocated to a ranch purchased by the Foundation, Pickens' aim is to get all 34,000+ horses into eco-sanctuaries. Left in their natural state, the mustangs and burros would continue to multiply, and the BLM contends that with the herds doubling in size every four years, the natural ecosystem cannot sustain the horse population.
The BLM's strategy includes a combination of aggressive fertility control and the relocation of wild horses to new preserves where they can continue to exist in a relatively natural state. To advance these efforts, the President's 2011 BLM budget proposal requests $75.7 million for the wild horse and burro program.
With the help of private citizens and foundations such as Saving America's Mustangs, it is hoped that this important part of our heritage can be preserved. The stated goals include providing opportunities for the public to visit these sanctuaries and participate in the enjoyment of seeing these wild horses in a natural environment, as well as donating and volunteering to support the efforts to save the wild horses and burros and preserve these eco-sanctuaries for generations to come.